Concreate, Inc. delivers concrete polishing and custom staining for both commercial and residential projects primarily in Virginia and Maryland (but also up and down the East Coast). We work hand in hand with with designers, architects, project managers, general contractors, tradesmen, and home owners alike from start to finish. We welcome the opportunity to serve your polished concrete needs in every way possible.

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10 Ways to Bid on a Concrete Polishing or Coating Job

10 Ways to Bid on a Concrete Polishing or Coating Job

A professionally polished communal area with sunlight streaming through large windows onto the shiny surface of the floor.

Ready to go up against your competition for that hot contract? Read this guide before saying “yes.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Know where to find bids to get a jump on competitors
  • Factor in time, labor, material costs, and profit for your bid’s baseline
  • Be flexible to account for the unforeseen
  • Make customer expectations align with reality

“I love bidding on concrete jobs,” said no concrete contractor ever. Losing a bid can be frustrating and maybe even demoralizing, and it’s a common lament to find out about a coating or polishing job just a little too late. Even when you find one, competition is often tough. We’re not promising you’ll win every concrete polishing or coating bid by reading this guide, but at least you’ll be sure you did all you could.

1. Seek projects proactively

Knowing where to look without relying on word of mouth or good luck can get you ahead of the contracting crowd. And like everything else these days, there’s an app for that.

Paid sites like PlanHub and BidPrime help contractors find work opportunities ranging from private commercial clients to government requests for proposals (RFPs), so they may be worth your time. Here’s a quick RFP primer that every concrete-centric contractor could benefit from reading. 

2. Don’t bid by extremes

You deserve to charge a decent fee. So do other reputable contractors. This is why it can be tricky to have the top bid on a concrete job. Bid too high, and competitors will undercut you. Too low, and you may lose money because you won’t have enough revenue to cover materials and labor.

A good approach is a “best value for both parties” attitude instead of a low bid. Try to resist giving a ballpark figure no matter how much you’re asked. Even though they asked for it, customers usually hate it when that figure increases as you learn more details about the job.

3. Make sure the customer understands the process

If a customer thinks your bid is too high, give them a Concrete 101 lesson on how many steps the concrete polishing process requires. You can refer them to our earlier blog that breaks it down into 8 stages, each stage having a subset of labor requirements and service refinements.

Shared knowledge is one of the cornerstones of a strong contractor/customer relationship. Be willing to act as an educator as well as a service provider, and never assume the customer knows it all. Expectations and reality must always meet for a successful bid.

4. Pitch a contract you’re comfortable with

There are several forms of contracts you can use when you bid on a concrete job. Which type will you offer?

  • Fixed price – A concrete (pun intended) fee for the job that won’t go up in price
  • Guaranteed maximum price – A set figure that you won’t charge above but doesn’t have the exact nature of a fixed price bid
  • Unit price – This type is based on surface square footage as well as the cost of the necessary materials and labor
  • Target price – A final figure you do your best to meet, with any extra costs being shared between contractor and customer
  • Cost plus fees – This lets you add any necessary fees onto overall costs 

5. Be prepared for repairs

Some repairs may be necessary before polishing or coating can even begin. Repairs must be factored into your final bid if you’re willing to perform them. You can scope what fixes may be necessary before making a final bid by using our next tip.

6. Conduct a site survey

Check out the site to assess the quality of the concrete. Not all surfaces make polishing and/or coating easy and will dictate the materials and processes you’ll need to apply to achieve the desired finish. You’ll also need to know the concrete’s psi rating and the surface’s FL and FF numbers (floor levelness and floor flatness).

7. Consider how the site’s schedule impacts yours

Securing a time the job can be performed is affected by multiple variables, so ask plenty of questions.

How busy will the site be as you and your team get the job done? Will you have to adjust how you typically work to accommodate site traffic? Will the space be too busy and require work after standard hours or on the weekend? Does the customer need the job done fast, necessitating overtime for your crew? 

Timeframes and site traffic are critical elements of a bid that could significantly impact your wages and completion dates.

8. Consider clean-up and disposal costs

Polishing and coating may leave a pristine surface, but achieving that result can be a messy business. Nor can concrete waste and washout be dumped into just any trash can. Factor in the time and expense to clean up slurry and dust before disposing of the mess responsibly. Otherwise, you could find your bottom line nosediving thanks to EPA fines and potential lawsuits.

9. Factor in edges and joints

Joints can vary by a fraction of an inch yet significantly impact material costs, and the final quality of your work can depend on how much elbow grease you apply to the edges. It’s arguably the hardest part of the job, so don’t sell yourself short on this by lowballing your bid. Charge accordingly for the often delicate and demanding effort to make edges and joints match the central surface.

10 Use samples to identify serious customers

Remember that the customer needs you as much as you need them, and you both need to waste your time like you need a hole in the head. Giving away free samples of your service to maybe win a bid can quickly waste your time, resources, and revenue. Opt instead to charge for any samples when you bid on a concrete job, then deduct that cost from the final figure if the customer accepts your proposal.

Connect with Concreate for more insight

At Concreate, we are the experts, helping professionals and the public to understand concrete better. We do everything with concrete but pour it, and we have decades of experience providing services including grinding, polishing, staining, joint work, and resinous floors. Check out our podcast and visit our contact page to ask any concrete-related questions or discuss your project needs.